O’Neill’s All-County Hurling League Division One
St John’s 0-19-5-27 Dunloy
By Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park
Dunloy took a step closer to league success with an empathetic 0-19-5-27 win over St John’s at Corrigan Park this afternoon.
Nigel Elliott’s first half goal helped his side lead 0-11-1-12 at the break but in the final thirteen minutes the visitors stepped it up a few gears with goals from Conal Cunning, a second from Elliott and the final two from substitutes Deaglan Smyth and Chris McMahon.
St John’s went into the game without an array of star players that have helped them comfortably secure their Division One status – including Ciaran Johnson, Stephen Tierney, Barry McFall and Michael Dudley amongst others.
Despite being under strength the men from the Whiterock Road started the game brightly and hit the opening two scores – Conor Johnston picked out Shea Shannon for the opening point and after a shove in the back close to the sideline Johnston converted the free to give the hosts a 0-02-0-00 lead.
It took Dunloy six minutes to opening their account for the afternoon through a converted 65’ from Paul Shiels but two further scores would give Cuchullians the lead for the first time – Keelan Molloy levelled the scores up after Shane Dooey claimed Ryan Elliott’s puck out and fired over the bar from an acute angle and Shiels hit his second of the afternoon after a fine cut-back from Eoin O’Neill.
St John’s responded and regained the lead through points from Aaron and Michael Bradley – the second a superb effort from distance though the sides were level for the second time on the 10th minute as Sheils converted his second free of the afternoon to make it 0-04 apiece.
The sides were still level pegging by the 20th minute as eight scores were shared equally – Declan Cregan, Conall Carson and Conor Johnston had all edged St John’s in front at one stage during the ten minute spell.
But Dunloy had a response each time though Eoin O’Neill, Sheils and Shane Dooey – taking the lead once through a Conal Cunning point that was quickly cancelled out by Cregan.
Dunloy edged ahead for the third time in the game on the 21st minute and it one they failed to relinquish.
Paul Shiels converted fourth placed ball of the half and after a poor puck from Simon Doherty was claimed by Christopher Brogan; the Dunloy full-forward popped over the bar to double his sides lead.St John’s Conor Johnston in action against Dunloy’s Conal Cunning. Pic by Bert Trowlen
Lorcan Heenan cut the gap with a fine point before the opening goal of the game arrived with eight minutes of the first half remaining – the St John’s backline failed to clear their lines and the ball broke into the path of Nigel Elliott who rifled past Doherty to give Dunloy a 0-09-1-10 lead.
A second goal almost presented itself after a neat one-two between Brogan and O’Neill but the later saw his shot deflected over rather than under the bar.
Conall Carson replied at the other end and although Brogan conjured up his second point of the half a minute before the break it was Aaron Bradley who ended the first-half scoring as St John’s remained in contention, trailing 0-11-1-12 at the interval.
St John’s cut the deficit on the half’s resumption through Donall Carson but Eoin O’Neill popped up at the other end for Dunloy who went five ahead after a neat exchange between goalscorer Elliott and Keelan Molloy who fired over the black spot.
The energetic Michael Bradley closed the ball down quickly and fashioned St John’s second score of half, however Dunloy responded with three points on the spin through an angled Conal Cunning point, a confident pop over by Brogan and a second score from play by Shiels; despite an opportunity of goal from Molloy’s pass.
St John’s responded with two points – the first from Jude McCurdy before departing in place of Niall McCallin and the second from Declan Cregan.
The sides then traded scores through Shiels and Michael Bradley as five-points separated the sides with thirteen minutes remaining, 0-16-1-18.
Dunloy began to pull away from the hosts with their second of the afternoon as Conal Cunning rifled into the roof of the net with twelve to play to make it 0-16-2-18.
Cunning struck a point in the aftermath and after first-half goalscorer Nigel Elliott burst onto a loose ball – he took off towards Simon Doherty’s goal and surely wrapped up victory for his side rifling home to give Cuchullians a 0-16-3-19 lead with ten minutes remaining.
The Johnnies responded through Lorcan Heenan’s second of the afternoon and another fine long range point from Conor Johnston but Dunloy hit their fourth goal and third in the space of five minutes – Conal Cunning slipped in substitute Deaglan Smyth who dispatched to the net.
Five points on the spin then followed through Smyth, Sheils (free), Kevin Molloy, Dooey and Chris McMahon.
Conor Johnston briefly disrupted the visitor’s momentuem and claimed his sides final score of the afternoon – though Dunloy weren’t finished and tagged on a further 1-03 before the close of play.
Cuchullian’s fifth arrived a minute from time courtesy of a low drive from substitute Chris McMahon – Keelan Molloy then fired high over the bar before two Conal Cunning points brought an end to proceedings as Dunloy ran out comfortable 0-19-5-27 winners on the Whiterock Road.
St John’s: S Doherty, O McKenna, S Wilson, C Hanna, C McKenna, D Moran, A McMahon, M Bradley (0-03), C Johnston (0-04, 0-01f), L Heenan (0-02), J McCurdy (0-01), S Shannon (0-01), A Bradley (0-02), D Cregan (0-04), D Carson (0-02). Subs: N McCallin for J McCurdy (42 mins), B McFall for M Bradley (48 mins).
Dunloy: R Elliott, O Quinn, J McKeague, K O’Kane, E Smyth, K Molloy (0-01), C McKinley, S Dooey (0-02), N McKeague, P Sheils (0-08, 0-03f, 0-02 65’), K Molloy (0-03), N Elliott (2-00), C Cunning (1-05), C Brogan (0-03), E O’Neill (0-03). Subs: P Shivers for E Smyth (40 mins), C Elliott for E O’Neill (40 mins), D Smyth (1-01) for N McKeague (48 mins), C McMahon (1-01) for C Brogan (48 mins).
Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)
Pics by Bert Trowlen